Bushido, a relatively modern term, is translated as the Warrior's Way.
What does the 'warrior's way' really mean?
To describe the code of honor of the samurai, who were a dominant figure in the feudal era of Japan, we can unravel the 8 virtues.
Although historically the samurai were considered callous and cruel in many circumstances, their code of honor stands as a beacon for personal responsibility in an ecosystem of victimhood.
The 8 Virtues
義 gi - Integrity
勇 yū - Courage
仁 jin - Compassion
礼 rei - Respect
誠 makoto - Honesty
名誉 meiyo - Honor
忠義 chūgi - Duty and Loyalty
自制 jisei - Self Control
As these are fairly general terms, I think they can be interpreted more than one way. Below is how I interpret them into actionable principles I can apply daily.
The Rules of Bushido
1. Have Integrity, and hold yourself to a system of justice and responsibility. Have a moral compass and stick to it.
2. Be Courageous, and put others before yourself, even if it means losing.
3. Be Compassionate, and seek to understand others, from all walks of life and beliefs. Have empathy for everyone, even if you don't share the same ideals. Live the Golden Rule.
4. Respect yourself, and respect those who can do nothing for you. Do not step on the weak.
5. Be Honest with your word and do what you say you will do. Speak only what you truly believe.
6. Have Honor, and live by it. Take personal responsibility and be chivalrous. Know your identity and deliberately act by that code of honor daily.
7. Be Loyal to those you have committed to, be it friends, family or colleagues. In the same vein, loyalty goes both ways. Blind loyalty to someone who brings you harm is not an authentic approach.
8. Control yourself - mentally, emotionally and physically. Think productive thoughts. Control your emotions when others let their's fly. Know your physical power, never abuse it.
Rules of living can be sometimes simplistic when approaching areas of complexity, but simplicity means we can implement and remember them when it matters most. So, what code do you live by?